After much huffing and puffing, the Russian Duma last week dropped its threat to impeach President Yeltsin and to vote no confidence in the Russia government. Instead, the Duma on November 29 merely urged Yeltsin to "reconsider" both his decision to withdraw the last two brigades of federal troops from Chechnya and to implement the agreement signed on November 23 by the Russian and Chechen prime ministers. (Interfax, November 29) Seeking an explanation for the Duma’s meek behavior, Russian commentators said that the call for impeachment had been issued by hard-line Communist Duma leaders in an effort to rally the ranks of opposition moderates who were showing signs of coming to terms with the government over the 1997 budget. That attempt failed because, in the end, moderate deputies outnumbered radicals. What clinched the issue was that the deputies took seriously Yeltsin’s threat to dissolve parliament if it voted no confidence in the government. (RTR, December 1)
Yeltsin ignored the Duma’s actions. On December 1, two days after the Duma called on him to reconsider the troop withdrawal, a convoy carrying equipment belonging to the Interior Ministry’s 101st Brigade left the Chechen capital of Grozny. The brigade is one of the last two remaining in Chechnya; both have been ordered out by Yeltsin. Officials said the withdrawal was proceeding smoothly and was expected to be completed by January 25, two days before Chechnya’s scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections. The Chechen side respected its commitment not to hamper the movement of the convoy. (AP, December 1)
Russian Public Supports Chechnya Pullout.